Breeze sleeps with a teddy bear. That isn’t so unusual — except that Breeze is a horse.
A foal, to be exact. Within hours of his birth, his mother disappeared. He tried to nurse from other mares to no avail. By the time rescuers reached him on May 24th, he was in severe shock and dehydrated; he collapsed.
The baby could not get his mother’s colostrum, which, “to a newborn foal…can mean the difference between life and death.” It contains vital antibodies that protect the foal until his own immune system kicks in.
The Mare & Foal Sanctuary rescued Breeze from Dartmoor Hill, in England’s Devon County, after getting a call from a concerned farmer. They gave Breeze colostrum drips, as well as a saline drip, milk and medicine.
But medical care wasn’t all Breeze needed. He was all alone and needed comfort and contact, like any baby. So the sanctuary put out a call for donations of oversized stuffed animals. The sanctuary’s executive director, Syra Bowden, said they “always give our orphaned foals a giant cuddly toy as a companion; they’re just like human babies in the way it provides them with comfort.”
Britons stepped up and sent a deluge of gifts. From among the spoils, Breeze selected Buttons, a four-foot-tall teddy bear, as his favorite. He likes to sleep in the bear’s lap, especially “during the brief periods when his carers are not present.” The extra stuffed animals will go to future rescued orphaned foals.
Bowden said that Breeze is feeling much better. “He’s now suckling well and feeding every hour; he even tried to have a little canter and buck in his stable over the weekend. However, he is not out of the woods yet.”
Breeze’s other cuddly companions include Reuben and Rudy, two plush dogs.
To keep tabs on Breeze’s progress, visit the Mare & Foal Sanctuary’s website.
Photo credit: Mare and Foal Sanctuary
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